A YouTube video showing how to heat a room for 8p a day has attracted millions of views. A journalist named Dylan Winter posted the clip and says that the heat put out by his device, combined with that emitted by his computer is enough to heat his study and save on his energy bills. Four tea-lights (which were known as night-lights in my childhood) are placed in a bread tin, and a small flower-pot is placed upside down above them. Then a larger flower-pot, also inverted, is placed over the small one. That’s it, except that the small pot has its hole, if any, filled in, whereas the large outer one is left with its hole open. Since tea-lights last about 4 hours each, 8 of them cover an 8-hour working day. Buying them in bulk brings the cost to about 1p each, hence 8p per day.
Now I can see how the covering flower-pots might change the convection flow of air in the room, but the explanation – that warm air rises and cold air flows in to replace it and is heated in turn – doesn’t seem to explain their function. Four tea-lights put out a certain level of BTU, and the flower-pots do not add to that level. Left uncovered, the warm air above the candles would rise, and cold air would be drawn in to replace it. So what is the point of the flower-pots? A friend who has tried this reports that they become very hot, as you would expect, and have to be handled with oven gloves when you replace the tea-lights. He also says the small one becomes very sooty. Would someone out there who has worked professionally in a scientific field please tell me whether the flower-pots add anything? Do they make the device somehow heat the room more than four tea-lights would if left uncovered? I can see how having warm flower-pots might feel like a heat source, but candle energy has to be used to heat them to that level. As you might gather, I am skeptical about this. Would someone enlighten me? And if anyone tries it, please report if it works.
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